13 Best Senior Dog Foods for Arthritis in 2022 – Reviews and Top Picks


Just because your dog is getting older doesn’t mean they need to act their age. Although arthritis can be difficult to combat, it is possible with the help of some nutrition-packed formulas designed especially for dogs that have passed their prime.

But where do you start? Dog food can sometimes feel like a maze, with an overabundance of information and brands thrown at you. Not to worry—we are here to help. This article reviews some of our top choices and presents vital information needed to make a well-informed choice for you and your furry friend.

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The 13 Best Senior Dog Foods for Arthritis

1. Merrick Healthy Grains Senior Recipe – Best Overall

Merrick Healthy Grains Senior Recipe Dry Dog Food

Main ingredients Deboned Chicken, chicken meal, brown rice, oatmeal, barley
Protein content 27%
Fat content 15%
Calories 381 kcal/cup

Our pick for the best overall senior dog food for arthritis is Merrick Healthy Grains Senior Recipe. This recipe is packed with great ingredients to support your senior pup—ingredients like DHA to promote brain health, fatty acids to boost the skin and coat, and grains to improve digestion.

The recipe is geared to assist the health of your dog’s hips and joints, which is sure to help with any arthritis issues they may be dealing with. It also has an excellent balance of proteins, whole grains, and produce, making it a healthy choice. It is designed for all breeds, and any sized pup can enjoy it!

  • For all breeds
  • Caters to sensitive digestion
  • Aids brain, skin, and coat health

2. Iams Healthy Aging Mature 7+ – Best Value

Iams Healthy Aging Mature 7+ Real Chicken Dry Dog Food Real Chicken Dry Dog Food

Main ingredients Chicken, chicken by-product meal, ground whole grain barley, ground whole grain corn, ground whole grain sorghum
Protein content 24%
Fat content 10.50%
Calories 349 kcal/cup

Iams Healthy Aging Mature 7+ Real Chicken is the winner for the best dog food for the money. This recipe is created with your older dog in mind. The primary ingredient is farm-raised chicken to support your dog’s nutritional needs. Other benefits it includes are antioxidants, which help immune system health, and prebiotics, which help with digestive health.

There are crucial nutrients in this recipe that support your dog’s bones and joints. If your pup is struggling with arthritis, and some of the special formulas are too pricey for your budget, consider this one. All breeds can reap the benefits of this recipe, and your wallet can, too!

  • Affordable
  • For all breeds
  • Contains antioxidants and prebiotics
  • Includes chicken by-product

3. Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets JM – Premium Choice

Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets JM Joint Mobility Dry Dog Food

Main ingredients Brewers rice, trout, salmon meal, corn gluten meal, poultry by-product meal
Protein content 30%
Fat content 12%
Calories 401 kcal/cup

Our premium choice Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets JM is packed full of healthy nutrients and vitamins. It boasts a high level of omega-3 fatty acids, which are geared specifically towards bolstering the health of your pup’s joints. Another benefit is glucosamine, which supports cartilage health.

The high protein content contributes to building lean muscle mass and comes in at 30%, which is impressive.

The premium contents in the bag are reflected in the price tag, so keep that in mind. This option is perfect for your dog if you are willing to pay a little more.

  • For all breeds
  • High protein content

4. Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Small Bites – Vet’s Choice

Hill's Science Diet Adult 7+ Small Bites Chicken Meal, Barley & Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

Main ingredients Chicken meal, cracked pearled barley, brewers rice, whole grain wheat, whole grain corn
Protein content 15.50%
Fat content 10.50%
Calories 353 kcal/cup

Our vet’s choice selection is Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7 + Small Bites. The ingredients are intended to stimulate liveliness and nurture the perfect weight. The recipe is fortified with omega-6 fatty acids and is made with no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.

Hill’s is designed to help your dog maintain a healthy lifestyle. It’s made exclusively for smaller breeds of dogs since the pellets are smaller and easier to process for older little dogs.

  • Limited ingredient diet
  • Promotes heart and kidney health

5. Wellness Complete Health Senior

Wellness Complete Health Senior Deboned Chicken & Barley Recipe Dry Dog Food

Main ingredients Deboned chicken, chicken meal, oatmeal, ground barley, ground brown rice
Protein content 22%
Fat content 10%
Calories 416 kcal/cup

For whole-body support, Wellness Complete Health Senior comes in handy. It was developed with high-quality proteins to provide your pup plenty of energy and includes spinach and blueberries for a rich addition of antioxidants. The flaxseed offers nutrients that help to strengthen the health of your dog’s coat, and the recipe supports the health of the digestive system and heart. Another benefit is the health boost to the eyes, teeth, and gums.

The glucosamine promotes cartilage heath to help with arthritis-related complications. Other key advantages include probiotics, taurine, and beta carotene, which support the general health of your canine.

  • For all breeds
  • Whole-body health

6. Royal Canin Large Aging 8+ Dry Dog Food

Royal Canin Large Aging 8+ Senior Dry Dog Food, 30 lb bag

Main ingredients Chicken by-product meal, brewers rice, wheat, corn gluten meal, chicken fat
Protein content 25%
Fat content 15%
Calories 308 kcal/cup

This Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition Large is geared specifically for large dog breeds. There are quality proteins in this formula that allow your senior dog to digest food much more effectively. The bigger, rehydratable kibble helps mature dogs that have issues with harder pieces.

Not only does this recipe contribute to the health of your dog’s joints and bones, but it also strengthens them so that your dog can continue to be lively no matter how many years go by.

  • Rehydratable
  • Healthy antioxidants
  • Aids digestive health

7. Black Gold Explorer Mature 7+ Formula

Black Gold Explorer Mature 7+ Recipe Dry Dog Food

Main ingredients Chicken meal, brown rice, brewers rice, whole grain sorghum, pearled barley
Protein content 27%
Fat content 12%
Calories 3 kcal/cup

The Black Gold Explorer Mature is for all senior dog breeds that need to stay active. Black Gold is dedicated to helping energetic dogs to continue having adventures.

This special recipe includes chicken, poultry, fruits, and vegetables. The quality protein promotes and sustains healthy weight and muscle, and the omega fatty acids keep your pup’s coat looking sleek. The prebiotics help with digestion to ensure everything goes down well.

There is glucosamine and chondroitin in this recipe to bolster joint health, and if your energetic dog struggles with arthritis, this brand could be the best option for you.

  • For all breeds
  • Promotes energy
  • Omega fatty acids

8. Diamond Naturals Senior Formula

Diamond Naturals Senior Formula Dry Dog Food

Main ingredients Chicken, chicken meal, whole grain brown rice, cracked pearled barley, ground white rice
Protein content 25%
Fat content 11%
Calories 347 kcal/cup

Diamond Naturals Senior Formula is made in the United States by a family-owned business. They source their ingredients only from the sellers that they trust the most. In this instance, they boast that cage-free chicken is their number one ingredient.

Superfoods are packed into this recipe, meaning ingredients that are exceptionally high in nutritional value. The general well-being of your pup is helped by the addition of probiotics, antioxidants, and prebiotics.

The glucosamine and chondroitin in this formula help strengthen the joints in older dogs.

  • Includes superfoods
  • Cage-free chicken
  • Promotes digestive health
  • Aids the immune system

9. Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Holistic Senior Dry Dog Food

Dr. Gary's Best Breed Holistic Senior Reduced Calorie Dry Dog Food

Main ingredients Chicken meal, brown rice, oatmeal, sorghum, dried beet pulp
Protein content 21%
Fat content 7%
Calories 371 Kcals/cup

Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Holistic Senior Reduced Calorie Dry Dog Food is a veterinarian formula. It is made with chicken and menhaden fish to supply the primary sources of protein, and it is supported by vitamin E and beta-carotene to create a wholesome meal for your pup. It is made without by-products, artificial flavors, or artificial preservatives.

The glucosamine and green-lipped sea mussels are beneficial to the hips and joints. All of this combined creates an excellent formula for any dog that may be experiencing the difficulties of arthritis.

  • For all breeds
  • Strong immune system support
  • Healthy for hips and joints

10. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Senior

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Senior Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

Main ingredients Deboned chicken, brown rice, barley, oatmeal, chicken meal
Protein content 18%
Fat content 10%
Calories 342 kcal/cup

Blue Buffalo’s Life Protection Formula includes quality deboned chicken and ingredients to support senior dogs’ overall health and well-being.This recipe has plenty of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, which are critical components of immune system health.

Unfortunately, Blue Buffalo also includes peas. Recent studies have shown that peas may be linked to heart disease in canines. So, while this recipe may have a lot to offer, you may want to take more time to consider whether or not this is the right fit for your pet.

  • For all breeds
  • Contains essential vitamins
  • Packed with antioxidants

11. Nutro Natural Choice Senior

Nutro Natural Choice Senior Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

Main ingredients Chicken, chicken meal, whole grain barley, split peas, brewers rice
Protein content 24%
Fat content 12%
Calories 319 kcal/cup

Again, this recipe has peas, so consider it at your own discretion. Still, there are some benefits in Nutro’s Natural Choice that are worth considering. The calcium in this recipe boosts the strength of your dog’s bones and joints, which could be helpful if your furry friend is struggling with arthritis.

It also provides antioxidants, strengthening the immune system, and healthy fibers to aid digestion. This recipe has no chicken by-products, so the protein content is much more nutritious. Considering all this, you realize Nutro makes for a pretty healthy meal!

  • Caters to sensitive digestion
  • No chicken by-products

12. ORIJEN Senior Grain-Free

ORIJEN Senior Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Main ingredients Chicken, turkey, flounder, whole mackerel, turkey giblets
Protein content 38%
Fat content 15%
Calories 414 kcal/cup

The first five ingredients in this recipe are all sourced directly from animals, and they aren’t by-products. In fact, this formula can boast that it is 85% animal ingredients. That provides a significant amount of protein, minerals, and vitamins.

Orijen Senior Grain-Free is an incredibly healthy option for your pup. It is packed with nutrients that can help your dog feel healthy and energetic, and calcium can strengthen the bones while glucosamine strengthens the cartilage.

It is important to note that grain-free options are not always recommended. Grain is an essential part of a healthy dog’s diet; without it, your pup could experience some problems. Before deciding on a grain-free option, check with your vet to see if it is the best choice for your dog.

  • For all breeds
  • 85% is sourced from animals
  • First five ingredients are fresh and/or raw
  • High protein content

13. Eukanuba Senior Large Breed Dry Dog Food

Eukanuba Senior Large Breed Dry Dog Food, 30-lb bag

Main ingredients Chicken meal, turkey meal, salmon meal, de-boned chicken, de-boned turkey
Protein content 26%
Fat content 12%
Calories 308 kcal/cup

Eukanuba Senior Large Breed helps support your older dog in several key areas. Of course, it sustains joints and keeps them mobile, which is important for any arthritic dog.

However, it does much more than that. It also contributes to maintaining lean muscles, assists brain function, and boosts daily energy levels. Unfortunately, this recipe is not suitable for all canines but is intended for large breeds.

  • Contains DHA and antioxidants
  • Helps with dental health

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Buyer’s Guide: How to Select the Best Senior Dog Food for Arthritis

Your Dog’s Size Will Influence What You Buy

Consider how big your dog is. What breed are they? Are they small, medium, or large? Your dog’s size will determine the formula you should purchase. For instance, a tiny lap dog shouldn’t be eating the same dog as a massive Mastiff!

Does it Provide Good Protein?

The quality of protein can be determined by how many essential amino acids it provides. The larger the portion, the higher the quality. So, if the protein in your dog’s food supplies a ton of amino acids, that’s a great source of protein!

The necessary amino acids to look for are arginine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, taurine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. If a significant portion of any of these is missing, your dog will lack vital nutrients.

Multiple protein sources in one recipe indicate that a variety of amino acids are included.

What is Your Budget?

When it comes to formulas recommended by vets, some of them can get a bit pricey.

Before making an impulsive purchase for the first brand of food that looks good, consider whether or not it is something you can buy regularly. Dogs don’t always handle switching foods well, especially if they are not weaned off their original food first.

If you are not confident that you can continue to provide your pup with an expensive recipe, you may want to look at more affordable options.

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Final Thoughts

The Merrick Healthy Grains Senior Recipe, packed with nutrients and accessible to any dog, is our best overall choice. Our best value winner is the Iams Healthy Aging Mature 7+, and our premium choice is Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets JM Joint Mobility due to the high protein. The vet’s choice, Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Small Bites, is a limited diet recipe promoting heart and kidney health—a wholesome option all around. Our fifth pick, Wellness Complete Health Senior Deboned Chicken & Barley Recipe, is suitable for all ages and contains high-quality ingredients.

All the products we reviewed provide significant health benefits. Take some time to consider our reviews, then decide on the best option for you and your dog!


Featured Image Credit: Leo_65, Pixabay



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